The Business-Technology Weave

May 22 2010   1:01PM GMT

The WorkWith: Squeezed in the Middle

David Scott David Scott Profile: David Scott

As planned, let’s return to our discussion as originally begun on May 7th, Managing People in the Weave.  As necessary, review that post and its follow-ons regarding WorkOns, WorkWiths and WorkFors.

I think we all believe that IT professionals have unique challenges within support and betterment of business.  In understanding all of the people around us, we can come to better interactions.  Better interactions will yield success, promotion and achievement of your career goals – in addition to furtherance of business’s aims and success – no small thing!

Let’s pick up our discussion by examining the class of employee I call the “WorkWith.”  Remember, this second group is IT’s fellow managers and business staff – co-workers with whom IT has no direct formal control from a management standpoint.  They also comprise middle managers, controllers of business process, and are neither too senior nor too junior.

The WorkWith group helps to select and plan the future courses of business.  Many WorkWiths will be on the Business Implementation Team (BIT – see post of Mar. 8)  Here there can be a compounding of risk for change in behavior.  This is because (as with WorkOns) WorkWiths are frequently required to assume greater responsibilities within the scope of their present responsibilities – but the compounding factor is that they also have to manage and direct change.  This group is especially active in the preservation of order amid change, and the preservation of change amid order.  In planning and managing change, those involved have to stick their necks out.  Simultaneously, they have to cover the bases.  WorkWiths have to deal with consequences and are on the hook to report what’s going on and why.  They have to answer for things.

Too, the WorkWiths are likely in the middle – situated between the WorkOns and the WorkFors.  There is a special challenge to this group, because they’re not only communicating within the Weave – speaking with special care to Business and Technology – but they also have to communicate up and down the organizational hierarchy.  Theirs is a special balance.  For IT, let’s examine how this person may appear to you when changing groups.


Essentially, any WorkWith shifts and becomes someone you WorkFor when you’re dealing with him or her as a customer (as does anyone, in any group, for that matter).  Whether you’re updating the WorkWith’s department’s PCs, implementing new software solutions, or addressing general support concerns, you’re working for this person and you have to provide service to their satisfaction.  In these cases, the WorkWith can become demanding, even unreasonable, as the power tilts their way.  They have to get the job done and you have to deliver.  In this case, it helps to understand the pressures a particular WorkWith may be under.    


Next, we’ll examine three kinds of WorkWiths (TechnoShines, TechnoFinds and TechnoBinds) before wrapping up with WorFors.


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